Friday, January 28, 2011

What did she just say?

One of our roving reporters attended a public block club meeting on Councilman Kearns' proposed Nevilly Court Education and Athletic Complex. The meeting was run by Linda Friedenberg and her coalition of block clubs. Linda is a very nice woman, who's worked very hard over the years to improve the area without seeking much fanfare. Her group does an excellent job.

Some of the neighbors are opposed to Kearns' project. Living next door to the proposed facility, it is within their rights to do so. I don't know too much about the project. I know it is a public/private venture. (The NFL reportedly has committed funding to it. I know Kearns' vision is to have an artificial turf multi-purpose playing field and a new state of the art community center/educational center. I'm not a huge proponent of artificial turf for soccer, but I know other sports (lacrosse, softball, and football) often use it. In the Fall, it would be great for some of the high school teams to use for soccer, as rainy weather often makes the current fields unplayable.

The mayor however, has blocked the $450,000 allocated to Kearns' district for the project. (Perhaps some more barber shops on Jefferson Avenue are in need of funding again. Who knows?) Fortunately, the common council has overridden his veto.

Desperate to block the project, the mayor has now recruited a retired city worker with a lot of time on her hands to do his bidding for him. She is saying the project is too expensive. Ironically, she's not as fiscally conservative with our tax dollars when it comes to her group. They receive tens of thousands of dollars from the city, state, and federal government to plant flowers on the McKinley Circles! If we're looking to save money by cutting services, I think we need to start there. Personally, I'm behind what Kearns is trying to do for our youth. The debate over the location, on the other hand, is between he and his constituents.

I just thought this was a hysterical clip taken from the meeting. The McKinley Circle Lady is now apparently acting as a spokesperson for all youth related groups in South Buffalo. She says the neighborhood doesn't need to upgrade any youth related facilities because "Enrollment in all sports is down. People aren't having large families anymore. Their numbers are dwindling. There just aren't as many children in South Buffalo playing organized sports anymore."

This must be news to Tom Finn and the 1,400 parents whose kids played soccer last summer here. It must also be news to Brian Leonard and Carole Pulvino from the South Buffalo Football organization. Carole's been a volunteer for over 26 years and mayor Brown has never once asked her to be in one of his campaign commercials. I wonder what Mike Schieber, Mark and Jim Blake, and the folks involved with Cazenovia Hockey think about the McKinley Circle Lady's claims. They are constantly attending meetings and figuring out ways to do more with less, and do a terrific job at the ice rink with what resources they have. A few NHL players have even gotten their start because of their organization. Scott Heywood and the parents involved in South Buffalo Baseball probably didn't hear about the sudden decrease of kids and sports in South Buffalo, either. They've used scarce resources to do great work over at Okell Field. You often hear baseball isn't as popular as it once was. While this might be true nationally, don't tell that to the hundreds of kids playing baseball and softball off of South Park Avenue in the summer months.

All I'm saying is the mayor should listen to these people and not a retired city worker with a clear political agenda, whose kids are all grown and living in the suburbs. The Councilman will be holding another public meeting on Saturday, February 19th at 10AM at Bishop Timon High School. I encourage all parents with children involved in sports (actually living in South Buffalo) to attend and speak up. Do not let this woman, who is obviously a pawn for the mayor, speak for the people of our community...



  1. Mike,
    She is definately in the minority, speaking for the mayor. My question is did other parts of the city have these arguements when the mayor helped them get new fields(Riverside,Johnny B Wiley)Millions of dollars of public and private funds have gone to make new fields for other sections of the city. Does Marge know that? Her arguement is embarassing and easy to shoot down. Yes, we have other needs, new police station, firehouse, some upgrades at pool, Tosh etc.. but it doesn't diminish the need for a safe palying field, one that the city doesn't have to maintain.It is 100% clearly political and our kids shouldn't have to suffer. Maybe we can get a fund together to move Marge to live closer to the Mayor. Our area, South District has the most population of any district in the city from the latest census. Still plenty of kids in sports, actually baseball is losing kids(especially girls to W. Seneca because of their fields). She is wrong on so many levels.- A Concerned Parent

  2. I agree with you. This whole thing is 100% political. The people they've enlisted as "concerned citizens" are actually just trying to ingratiate themselves with the mayor. Their motives are obvious and will not fool the non-political people with kids playing sports in S Bflo.

    Please just help us spread the word about the meeting on 2/8 at 7PM. Thanks.